Delivering Online Courses Through a Collaboration of 6 TANZ Institutions Using Networked Technology
This pilot was a proof of concept project that was designed to test a fully flexible network of eLearning provision. It began in mid 2008, using the network capability of Moodle (an online learning software delivery platform, Learner Management System - LMS), so that each of the six TANZ member institutions could deliver a single paper to 6 groups of learners drawn from each of the TANZ regions. It was intended to achieve the following goals:
- sharing programme/course content, course information and materials, student management data across the 6 TANZ institutions;
- testing the technology framework that enables learners at one institution to access taught courses, resources and learning materials from partner institutions through a “single sign on” login process, while retaining the home institution’s logo and other brand identification;
- co-teaching 6 NZ Dip Bus Papers courses/programmes thus leveraging expertise across the whole learning and teaching network and evaluating the issues, benefits and possible downsides of this strategy;
- demonstrating the potential to provide a measure of sustainability for important and specialist programmes/courses made marginal by low local numbers through harvesting learners from partner institution and / or through shared teaching and delivery;
- demonstrating the ability to broaden learner access to a wider range of education and training options, than may be obtained locally.
A significant aspect of this pilot was a two part Participatory Action Research (PAR) project, funded by Ako Aotearoa and undertaken to investigate what is the impact of delivering a fully networked range of eLearning provision is on learners, teachers, administrators and institutions. It also sought to understand the experience of tutors and learners as well as those of support, administrative and technical staff and the impact on institutional systems.
Part one of this PAR project included the first of three iterative research cycles and focused on the start up phase of the project as technical and administrative systems were set up and tested, learners were enrolled, oriented and started on their chosen course. The second part of the PAR project covered the remaining two cycles and was focused on the online course delivery phase of the project and the gathering of lessons learned in order to generate recommendations and guiding principles.
PAR Project Leader TANZ: Keith Tyler-Smith
PAR Project Supervisor: Jan Kent
PAR Project Participants:
- Northtec – Julie Lawrence, Vasi Doncheva
- EIT – Donna Petry, Joyce Seitzinger
- UCOL – Phil Thomsen, Sue Ireland
- NMIT – Sue Malthus, David Sturrock
- CPIT – Louise Taylor, Adam Hollingworth, Nick Ford
- Otago – Phil Morrison, Darrell Love. Terry Marler
- TANZ – Rachel Pringle
Cycle 1 of the project
Cycles 2 & 3 of the project
Through a structured investigation this research project addressed the following objectives: Determining what the impacts of delivering fully networked online/blended courses are on learners, teachers, institutional practices and learning support; Determining the technological and administrative issues in networked provision delivery; Determining what staff professional development needs are in networked provision delivery to assure highest quality teaching and learner support and engagement; Determining the range of co-teaching and blended delivery options and strategies that can be implemented in a widely distributed network of provision; Creating and documenting a robust set of guidelines for, and emergent grounded theory about, networked provision of blended eLearning courses; Creating an action research culture that focused on improving in practice through a continuous cycle of, investigation, intervention, reflection, planning and implementation.
Funding for this project has been for a three-cycle action research spiral based on the Melrose and Reid (2000) “Daisy” Model for Collaborative Action Research.
- Cycle 1: The Reconnaissance Phase explorated of the issues generated by the start up phase of the pilot of the myLearn NZ Diploma in Business project, including the technical and administrative systems development, the preparation of courses and tutors and the induction and orientation of the learners.
- Cycle 2: The Re-Design Phase reviewed the start up of the pilot, an examined the experience of tutors, and learners, technical issues and course learning design issues. This led to a re-think of aspects of the way the course delivery was managed as well as strong recommendations for those aspects of the start up phase that are peculiar to the beginning of this type of networked provision and which would not normally impact on the balance of the course delivery phase.
- Cycle 3: The Re-Evaluation Phase evaluated of the entire pilot, including the PAR implementation and reflected on the totality of the experience and generated strong recommendations, guidelines and principles for future developments.